Çerem - Albania

Çerem, Albania – Dobërdol, Albania

Trail distance: 15.64 kilometers
Elevation min: 1,152 meters max: 1,920 meters
Cumulative height uphill: 1,025 meters downhill: 440 meters
Difficulty level: Moderate
Time: 6 hours
Markings: white/red/white

This day involves a transfer hike from Çerem to Dobërdol, a remote shepherd’s
village accessible only by mule tracks and populated only during the summer
time by shepherds. From Çerem, the hike climbs up to the Montenegrin border,
passes the beautiful summer shepherd’s village of Balqin, and continues through
the Gashi valley (protected area) to the shepherd’s village of Dobërdol. The main
attractions in Dobërdol are the glacial lakes of the Dobërdol-Sulbicës plateau.

This trail can be separated perfectly into two days hike by having an overnight
stay at the picturesque summer shepherd’s village of Balqin (WP 8b) which is
located almost in the middle of the trail. The first day hike is 9.1 kilometers and
the second day is 6.5 kilometers long. You can either camp there or ask the
shepherds for a shelter. Fresh food can be bought directly from them.
There are a number of springs and streams along the trail which are safe for

The hike starts at Çerem center (WP 7a) and continues northeast on a gravel
road along the Markafsha stream. At WP 1b, we cross the stream and follow the
mule track which enters the forest and zigzags upwards. The path exits the forest
at WP 2b and follows northeast through a beautiful meadow with breathtaking
views towards Çerem. The track is easily identifiable by a slight depression when
the grass is long and very easy to follow because the meadow is lined by the
forest leading you to the gravel road (WP 3b).

The ascent softens as we follow the gravel road through the forest for approx.
2.5 kilometers. Our route turns left at the junction (WP 4b) and we leave
the gravel road at the border pyramid (WP 5b). From the border pyramid,
our track continues along Montenegrin territory for approx. 2.5 kilometers
by following an easily identifiable, gently ascending mule track northeast
through the forest. At WP 6b, we reach a nice meadow and can see a small
building on our left which had been used as a survey point by the border
police. We take a right turn at the junction, and as our path enters the forest,
after several meters, the ascent starts to become steeper. We bear right at
the junction of WP 7b and after approx. 100 meters we meet a dirt road.
A few meters ahead, on our right side, another border pyramid is located.
We cross the dirt road and follow the mule track northeast, passing through
the forest until we reach Balqin (WP 8b), a beautiful shepherd’s village also used
only during the summer time. Balqin is an inviting place to take a rest and get to
know a little more about the locals’ culture.

The track to Dobërdol follows northeast with an easy ascent through the forest.
At the junction (WP 9b), one can either turn right or left. Both ways are marked
and lead you onto the same path. We suggest making a left turn because this
way is shorter. From here we start a gentle descent and then cross a stream (WP
10b), following the track east along the stream. After approx. 800 meters, we
reach a water source (WP 11b). The ruins of the border police office can be seen
a few meters off to our right side.

From here, one path descends to the Gashi valley, while another one climbs
up to the border. We follow north along the descending path to the valley and
a few meters further on we make a left turn at the junction. At WP 12b, the
path starts ascending (from 1660 to 1760) and afterwards the hike through the
beautiful meadows of Dobërdol is flat along the river.

Dobërdol is a good option to spend a day at and have a relaxing hike to the
glacial lakes located a few kilometers southeast. You can stay overnight at the
mountain hut (WP 13b) which is managed by a local family for touristic purposes.